Frank Peacham and Frankmer7,
I did come a bit hard but I finally caught your attentions. I’ve been trying to “clear my throat” a few times but continued to see trends that have worried me; both in posts here which reflect what worries me about the church in general. I apologize if I came on too strong.
On the one hand we see members who contrast popular interpretation of Paul against popular interpretation of Mrs. White, and on the other hand we find that there is a trend in Biblical Scholarship that is only about 30 years old which is, as I mentioned, saying that we are mis-reading Paul, and reading into his words ideas that did not come from Paul himself but as interpreted by the events of the church-synagogue split of 135 AD, St. Augustine, and the events of the 1500s. Scholars are now trying to strip off these other ideas and are trying to get back to Paul’s original ideas. Jewish Rabbis are now becoming scholars in the writings of Paul and there has been a reclaiming of Paul by Judaism which is getting away from the traditional “the man Jesus and the demon Paul” that has been popular for centuries.
On the other hand we find Mrs. White being quoted but with the ideas of the scholars who are the ones highly regarded by the so-called “Historic Adventists” and “Last Generation.”
I went to college during the Desmond Ford issue. In college we were taught how both the Ford issue and the “Historic Adventists” have both divided the truth approximately half way between them, using part of the truth against the rest of the truth. How the church is not happy with the truth because it steps on the toes of both groups. Besides learning this at AUC, at Campmeeting a couple from Union College, Ralph and Beatrice Neal (spelling) I believe there names are, gave the same message. Also, the writings of A. Leroy Moore were also coming out with the same message.
When I was at Andrews, I did a lot of reading in the White estate, and came across a number of letters (and sadly did not realize the importance of those letters then) between Mrs. White and Willie to the pastors who you find quoted over and over again by the historic Adventist and Last Generation people. The basis of these letters were the same. Mrs. White or Willie would complain that while these pastors were using massive quotes of hers, that they did not understand her message. Instead of spreading the truth in their massive quotings, they were using them to try to add divine approval to their ideas and thus force their ideas on to the church, and that she was not in agreement with their views.
They would write back to her that if people like Willie or others were not polluting her mind against them that she would not be writing them these letters but instead be fully supporting what they were teaching.
I also came across writings that accused Mrs. White of aposticy, of no longer believing that she is a prophet and that she now opposes what used to be her message. Some suggested that a Jesuit priest must have come into her inner circle and is controlling her mind. Some suggested that the Jesuit may have been Willie or others, or that Mrs. White herself may have converted over to the Jesuits. Anyway, if you wanted to know what message she had that came from God and to keep them separate from the heresy that she was currently teaching to read her as quoted by these ministers.
After I left Andrews, I was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Lewis Washington. Many church members there subscribed to a journal called “Our Firm Foundation.” The ideas I was reading in many copies of that journal sounded very familiar, and sure enough, looking at the footnotes they kept referencing the pastors who Mrs. White wrote those letters to, and who the writings accusing Mrs. White of heresy were telling us who to turn to for the truth.
We are still finding a lot of fighting in the church between the popular interpretations of Paul (Yes, Frank, he did say new things, but was not as extreme as we tend to think. One archaeologist has said “Paul died to prove that what we are now saying he taught was a lie.” ) and Frank, Frank, and KevinP, Mrs. White was also not as extreme as you would like her to be.
I wish that I had written a paper at Andrews on those letters. But for more study may I recommend the recent biography of A. G. Daniels, the works by A. Leroy Moore, the Neals, and the faculty of AUC in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. such as the 3 chapters in the original Sanctuary and the Atonement titled “The Mighty Opposites: The Atonement in the Writings of Ellen G. White” parts 1 and 2, and “We Must All Appear: The Investigative Judgment in the Writings of Ellen G. White” For some more on the new views of Paul, there is a book “A new Understanding of Paul” or something like that, but also Jim Flemings: Acts: New Discoveries from the Early Church. "http://www.biblicalresources.net/product.cfm?product=37 and Dr. Fleming also deals with this in his lecture “Lest we forget: a history of anti-Judaism and the church.”
If we keep referring to Paul in the popular but probably out of date interpretations, which he died to prove to be a lie, and interpreting Mrs. White via these pastors who she wrote that they were misrepresenting her and that they do not understand her message and use these misinterpretations against each other, we are just going to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into a rut.
And no matter how you feel about Dr. Knight, at least he is making an attempt to dig us out of our rut.